Stories We Like: Novels For Language Lovers
Old English snaw "snow, that which falls as snow; a fall of snow; a snowstorm," from Proto-Germanic *snaiwaz (cf. Old Saxon and Old High German sneo, Old Frisian and Middle Low German sne, Middle Dutch snee, Dutch sneeuw, German Schnee, Old Norse snjor, Gothic snaiws "snow"), from PIE root *sniegwh- "snow; to snow" (cf. Greek nipha, Latin nix (genitive nivis), Old Irish snechta, Irish sneachd, Welsh nyf, Lithuanian sniegas, Old Prussian snaygis, Old Church Slavonic snegu, Russian snieg', Slovak sneh "snow"). The cognate in Sanskrit, snihyati, came to mean "he gets wet." As slang for "cocaine" it is attested from 1914.
c.1300, replacing Old English sniwan, which would have yielded modern snew (which existed as a parallel form until 17c. and, in Yorkshire, even later), from the root of snow (n.). Cf. Middle Dutch sneuuwen, Dutch sneeuwen, Old Norse snjova, Swedish snöga.
Also þikke as snow þat snew,The figurative sense of "overwhelm; surround, cover, and imprison" (as deep snows can do to livestock) is 1880, American English, in phrase to snow (someone) under. Snow job "strong, persistent persuasion in a dubious cause" is World War II armed forces slang, probably from the same metaphoric image.
Or al so hail þat stormes blew.
[Robert Mannyng of Brunne, transl. Wace's "Chronicle," c.1330]
To burden or assail with excessive demands, work, etc; overwhelm: until a frailer man than he would have been snowed under (1880+)
To persuade in a dubious cause, esp by exaggeration, appeals to common sentiment, etc; blow smoke: The electorate will not be snowed into supporting that silly measure (1945+)Related Terms
[verb sense fr the idea of snowing someone under with articulate reasons]
Common in Palestine in winter (Ps. 147:16). The snow on the tops of the Lebanon range is almost always within view throughout the whole year. The word is frequently used figuratively by the sacred writers (Job 24:19; Ps. 51:7; 68:14; Isa. 1:18). It is mentioned only once in the historical books (2 Sam. 23:20). It was "carried to Tyre, Sidon, and Damascus as a luxury, and labourers sweltering in the hot harvest-fields used it for the purpose of cooling the water which they drank (Prov. 25:13; Jer. 18:14). No doubt Herod Antipas, at his feasts in Tiberias, enjoyed also from this very source the modern luxury of ice-water."